Good Wednesday morning Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.
Slip into my DMs. I love hearing from readers and I read every email. Send me your topical tips, your comments on this newsletter, or anything else that comes to your mind. Email me or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.
Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every morning of the week. Sign up for free here.
Are the GOP and Romney heading for a breakup?
It’s no secret that many die-hard Republicans in Utah are not fans of Senator Mitt Romney. Witness the less than cordial reception he received at this year’s GOP convention when he was mercilessly booed from the stage.
A new poll suggests Romney may no longer fit perfectly into today’s Trumpified version of the Republican Party.
OH Predictive Insights finds that only 42% of Republicans in Utah believe there is room for Romney in today’s GOP. 44% say Romney doesn’t belong.
Trump, on the other hand, would find a much more welcoming atmosphere. 58% say there is room for the twice impeached former president.
Romney is not popular among Republicans in Utah, with nearly two-thirds (63%) saying they would rather see someone else in the Senate instead of Romney.
“In the 2012 presidential election, Mit Romney won the largest share of the vote in Utah of any Republican presidential candidate since Reagan in 1984. Data shows that Utahns’ views have changed since 2012 – with two-thirds of GOP voters preferring a Republican senator other than Mitt Romney, he is more vulnerable than ever in a primary election, ”said Chris Noble, OHPI research chief in a press release.
The good thing for Romney is that he’s over 3 years old before he gets reelected. Another factor that works in his favor is that there are very few Republicans in Utah with the political juice to mount a credible challenge to Romney. Robert Gehrke of the Tribune makes a compelling case that former congressman (and newsletter friend) Jason Chaffetz is preparing to challenge Romney in 2024. It’s certainly a possibility, but it’s hard to see him give up his first job. on Fox News.
You can see the question and the cross tables here.
Here’s what you need to know for Wednesday morning
Breaking Overnight: A Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks comes into effect after the Supreme Court refused to step in and stop it. [WaPo]
🦠 Governor Spencer Cox will meet with Utah lawmakers today to discuss how to deal with the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state. But it’s likely nothing will come out of the meeting, as legislative leaders don’t think there is much they can do to improve the situation in the short term. [Tribune]
🏛 President Joe Biden defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, calling the airlift to evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghans “an extraordinary success.” [AP]
The Taliban stopped an explosives-laden bus on its way to Kabul airport shortly before the United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan. [NBC News]
An Afghan interpreter who helped save then-Senator Joe Biden in 2008 has been left behind after refusing to leave his family. [WSJ]
A Republican congressman from Oklahoma threatened staff at the US Embassy in Tajikistan as he attempted to enter Afghanistan with a large sum of money. Representative Markwayne Mullin was going to rescue five US citizens and planned to hire a helicopter to get them out. [WaPo]
👀 House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has threatened to punish companies that hand over phone records to the House committee investigating the January 6 insurgency. [Politico]
🗳 Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, one of former President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters in Congress, was caught on hidden camera blaming Trump for his electoral defeat. “There is clearly nothing biased about the election results,” Johnson said in the recording. [WaPo]
🗳 Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said it was “really clear” that former President Trump lost the 2020 election. “It wasn’t rigged. It wasn’t stolen, ”Ryan said in an interview with local television. [The Hill]
😷 The CEO of Intermountain Healthcare pleaded with Utahns to wear a mask to stem the tide of coronavirus infections in the state. [Tribune]
🦠 The CDC is asking unvaccinated Americans not to travel during the Labor Day holidays due to the risk of further spread of COVID-19. [CNN]
💵 Social Security will have to start cutting benefits in 2034, a full year ahead of schedule, due to a projected deficit due to the pandemic. [CNN]
Democrats are sounding the alarm bells over anemic Latino turnout in California’s recall election. [Politico]
🦠 Google has again pushed back plans to return employees to the office until mid-January. [AP]
Will COVID-19 keep us apart?
Last week I asked readers if they thought the fierce debate around COVID-19, vaccines and masks was bound to tear the country apart, or if it was more of a storm in a teapot. .
Many readers have answered my question with very insightful thoughts on our hyperpolarized political culture. Here are some of those answers:
I think Covid-19 and all the disruption that goes with it in people’s lives may have affected people’s mental health more deeply than we realize. I think most people have found a way to get through and recover over time, but for some people, the perfect storm of last year’s presidential election and Covid-19 has pushed them over the edge. There will always be some weirdos but I think the resentment will start to subside rather than get worse unless there is another disaster.. – Alex Blanc
Mask warrants are not the problem. Reluctance to vaccinate is not the problem. The problem is poor quality education which has resulted in a large portion of the population being unable to use reason and scientific thought to analyze a problem and find a solution. Mistrust of the pillars of society has caused these people to seek out new alternatives, alternative facts, charlatans, charlatans and mediums. They don’t trust the mainstream media, mainstream politicians, or the best doctors and scientists. This is not a new problem, but it is a problem that is steadily worsening. As more and more school boards are taken over by these people, the quality of education decreases. Books are edited to present half-truths and big stories as facts. Those who are educated in these less knowledge systems continue to multiply and their offspring has problems with even more facts. It’s not so much a political issue, although it seems the majority of those people have flocked to the new Republican Party. Democrats are no exception to this as many of the far left have never studied and have little knowledge of the problems of Communism and other extreme socialist governments and societies. – David Crispin
I am a 72 year old retired doctor with cancer in remission. I spent March 2020 to July 2021 mostly housebound, only leaving home for doctor’s appointments. I do not understand those who do not want to be vaccinated. When I was a child, polio was the disease we all feared. When the polio vaccine became available, our parents lined us up as soon as it was available to keep us safe. Vaccines are safe. In addition, face masks are safe. If we don’t use face masks in school, children are going to get infected. Some with underlying conditions may die. In previous crises our country came together for the greater good, I just don’t understand why our citizens are so reluctant to do the same with this crisis. – Kathie Coopersmith, MD
I am appalled by the current “political” climate surrounding COVID, and I fear that the longer it lasts, the more lives it will cost. It’s a health crisis! Death does not distinguish whether its victims are Republican, Democrats, Independents or others. At the end of it all – people are dying of this “thing”. How many people reading these columns remember the time when, even to attend public schools, you had to produce your vaccination records? The goal then, as it should be now, was to make sure all children were SAFE! Where is the “politics” in there? I understand the people who claim “parental rights” but – And the children? I just wish everyone would recognize this pandemic for what it is: a killer! He’s the enemy – Not my neighbor down the street. Maybe if we applied something other than political opinions, like a sense of unity to defeat this enemy, we could make a difference? Maybe it might sound ‘polyanish’, but what do we have to lose? – B. Murphy
Wednesday Morning Utah News Summary
Reward of $ 10,000 offered for information in the Moab double homicide. [Tribune]
Advocates want a needle exchange program in St. George to help the city’s homeless people, but not everyone agrees. [Tribune]
Afghan and Iraqi refugees can apply for resettlement in Salt Lake City. [Tribune]
Eccles Theater requiring a vaccination or negative result to enter shows. [ABC4]
La moyenne mobile sur 7 jours des nouveaux cas de COVID-19 dans l’Utah est la plus élevée en 7 mois. [Tribune]
Davis County reopens a mass vaccination center with the COVID-19 outbreak. [FOX13]
Weber County officials are preparing to offer COVID-19 booster shots. [Standard Examiner]
Is the COVID vaccine safe during pregnancy? A pregnant woman, an infectious disease doctor, responds. [KSL]
Bear River Health Department presents plan to keep children in school despite concerns over COVID. [ABC4]
Why indoor air can be as bad as outdoor pollution – and what you can do about it. [Tribune]
BLM resumes leasing of oil and gas in Utah. [Tribune]
A month after devastating floods hit Enoch, the community is still working to rebuild itself. [FOX13]
Herriman’s homeowner asks town to pay for flood damage despite the law saying it’s not necessary. [KUTV]
Davis and Weber Counties Canal Company shutting off secondary water early due to drought. [KSL]
Moratorium on construction of Orem changed after city council was inundated with emails and calls. [Daily Herald]
The Richins Ranch conservation easement has been approved, preserving 851 acres near Chalk Creek. [Park Record]
On opinion pages
How Cox let the dirty industry take charge of Utah’s air quality planning, writes the Tribune editorial board. [Tribune]
Will Oil and Gas Foxes Monitor Utah’s Air Quality Chicken Coop? asks Robert Gehrke. [Tribune]
Gerald Elias: Public health measures over the years have been called “demagoguery”. [Tribune]
Paul Krugman: The Snake Oil Theory of the Modern Right. [Tribune]
– Connor Sanders of the Tribune contributed to this report